Sunday, December 07, 2008

The World's Stage[tm]

Scyld Berry asks us a silly question:
Graeme Smith, in the same Edgbaston Test, terminated Michael Vaughan's captaincy by chasing down South Africa's target of 281. Was his 154* the finest of all captain's innings? It surely has to be the finest in a fourth innings Test run-chase.
Of course! It was played in England, against England, and English journalists were watching. Therefore it must be the greatest of all time. The logic is impeccable.

And in case someone says "Oh, yeah, you got any better ideas?", I'd just like to say "Bridgetown 1999" (Note: I'm not describing this as the "finest" or anything like that; its just interesting that it doesn't even rate a mention; the Australian bowling attack was McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and MacGill).

But in general, this is how the mythology of England as the Hallowed Stage of World Cricket continues; this is how the legend is constructed.


Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent. But the argument oughtn't be that Scyld Berry is perverse. He's an angrez: it's natural for him to organize his mythology of cricket with England at its heart. What you ought to do on this blog is to set out a greatest hits list centred in India. This doesn't have to be a desi chauvinist take on cricket: your Bridgetown example demonstrates that an Indian view cricket can be more expansive and less insular than an English one.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you implying that McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and MacGill is a better bowling attack than Sidebottom, Anderson, Panesar and Flintoff? In England? What next, that Laxman and Mark Waugh are more graceful than Ian Bell?


4:37 AM  
Blogger samir said...

Mukul: Thanks for your comments. One premise thats missing in my argument is the importance accorded English media entities. Its that placement that gives Berry's claims greater weight and contributes to the myths. But your main idea, that of coming up with a greatest hits centered in India is a good one, and I'll work on it.

Achettup: Heaven forbid, I'd never do anything like that!

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samir, this is totally off topic. Hope you dont mind.

I follow your blog because you used to include anecdotes and incidents on cricket that happened in the 80s and before that. Those seem to be missing nowadays. Hope you find time to blog more about such incidents that caught your eye when cricket was just a contest between bat and ball. A lot of mediocrity has seeped into the game nowadays that just makes me want to look back and admire the game when it was pristine.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...


Thanks for the comments. I've been stymied a bit recently but am hoping to get back into top form soon. Nice to know someone was paying attention!


10:39 PM  
Blogger Q said...

The English will never learn.. they don't want to. Too proud a population they are. Of what, I am not exactly sure.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Som said...

I don't doubt the English press as much I doubt England as a contemporary cricket power. I think the problem lies in the fact that the English press didn't get the team it deserved and hence this effort to pass on something essentially mediocre as sublime. I understand Scyld Berry's frustration and have full sympathy for him.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was extremely annoyed by few journalists in England who wrote about sehwags brilliant innings with such disrespect and impunity, contrasting to the so-called subtlety to Strauss's innings harping on what test cricket should be about.

They somehow often think their napkins are always that is spotless and clean.

There are some decent blokes too though.

10:32 AM  

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